Patiala city which is the home bastion of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has become the education hub of Punjab. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Sports University and Jagat Guru Nanak Open University are also coming up in Patiala.
These two new universities have been opened in haste and without any concrete plans.
The haste shown by the state government in opening these universities has the potential to have a detrimental effect on Punjabi University’s Department of Sports and Department of Distance Education.
Department of Distance Education was established in 1968 and it is running various courses with UGC approved faculty strength of 60.
There are about 20,000 students presently studying in various courses in this department and more than 1000 students are enrolled with the Department of Sports.
The Department of Distance Education is already going through a very harsh time amid COVID-19 pandemic as the past practice of providing notes through post has been hampered due to lack of finances.
The digital divide is another issue which has hit the students hard. The major concern is limited access to these notes for students especially residing in rural areas.
On the other hand, the sports department is struggling with the issues like the purchase of new machines, diet money given to sportsmen, sports kits, delay in prize money, and maintenance of equipment and machines due to paucity of funds.
The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy is conferred to a top-performing university in sports and Punjabi University has won the coveted MAKA trophy 10 times, including six times in a row for best sports performance in the country. However, the university has started losing sheen in its sports performances.
The opening of these two new universities in the city is a bitter pill to swallow for all concerned Punjabi University officials, players, mentors, and supporting staff because it should not have happened at all.
It is alleged that the state government has neglected Punjabi university in the last three years. These two departments are going to be hit with a double whammy in near future due to the ongoing precarious cash crunch and emergence of new universities.
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